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MIL is Supermom and I'm Not

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
She thinks I don't do enough... I do more than enough, in my opinion. We live on the same property, so she kinda knows what I 'accomplish' every day...

In general, she's pretty cool, but sometimes she'll say things like 'why did DP help you with the laundry?' or 'I'll help you get better at XYZ' or 'you need to mutli-task better' or 'you should be using fresh veggies from the garden every night to make dinner' or... on and on.

Here's what I did yesterday: three loads of laundry (only folded two, didn't put any of them away) picked veggies for four food baskets (I run a small CSA for our homeschooling group) made dinner (without veggies from the garden ) went grocery shopping, and a couple other small things. I'm also EBF, and home/unschooling my DS, who is seven (although, to be honest, we rarely do anything structured).

Doesn't that sound like a lot?!

MIL raised three boys who were all really close in age, and did a huge garden/booth at farmer's market when they were little. She had very little help from her DH, who was running his own business.

Am I totally off base here? Should I be doing more/better, whatever? Another thing that bugs her is that we don't get up until about 8:30-9am. But we go to bed around midnight, so I find our bed/wake time totally reasonable.

*SIGH*

I have issues feeling competent/adult like around her...

Any advice, help, commiseration? TIA
post #2 of 15
I think the key question is are you, your children's and your husband's needs met and are you all happy? The typical day for each SAHM is different and another SAHM on a message board can't tell you if you do "enough" for your family.... because really the key question is what I stated and not if what you do is "enough".
post #3 of 15
It sounds like despite these comments, you do still like/love your MIL.

Have you thought about being very direct with her about how her comments affect you? I mean, it sounds like she is someone who needs to be busy all time time, and it's amazing what she accomplished. But maybe she needs a reminder that you have a different style and personality, that you do respect and love her so when it seems like she is critiquing you you feel hurt. Sometimes people forget that or think they're being helpful. If you have a good relationship with her, a hug and chat might turn things around a bit, KWIM?
post #4 of 15
i think over the years peoples memories become fuzzy and they tend to lean more toward having a biased view of what they really did when their children were that young.
it sounds like she has resentment toward you and your "easy" lifestyle, i bet she wishes that her husband was there to help with the laundry and that she could have the luxury to wake up at 9 am. maybe you can let her know that you dont take those things for granted and acnowledge how hard she must have worked and tell her how thankful you are that you dont need to do all that right now in your life?
post #5 of 15
Agreed that she must be forgetting.
We all make different choices about our lives and how we spend our days and, generally speaking, definitely in your case, its OK.
My MIL is great, but she bases her advice on decisions she made based on information from over 30 years ago. Some of its valid, as, well, she's simply been on this earth longer than I have and has been able to perfect some of processes more than I have. Some of it is simply her thoughts on the matter. Not mine, not my problem.
Listen to what she says with respect, take what makes sense to you, and let the rest be her issues. If you are doing all you stated, you don't have time to worry about them.
And if she asks you a direct question, answer her as you answered us: "I'm EBF, homeschooling/unschooling and doing what I can otherwise as time allows." And leave it at that.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackies Ladybug View Post
i think over the years peoples memories become fuzzy and they tend to lean more toward having a biased view of what they really did when their children were that young.


When I was home with DS (my ONLY child who I was home with for the first year) I was lucky if I got us both dressed and out the door to Target or wherever.

I agree with the previous suggestion to gently say to MIL "You know, I feel really insecure (or angry or sad or frustrated or whatever) when you make comments about how much or how little I do. Would it be possible for you to not say things like that to me anymore?" If you think MIL could hear something like that.
post #7 of 15
I agree her memory might be a bit fuzzy. I also wonder if she might be a bit jealous, that she misses the stage in life you are at right now?

Maybe when she says, you should use veggies from the garden, or whatever, she really means, I loved the times I cooked for my kids using fresh grown veggies and wish they were little so I could do it again.

If she's generally a cool person and you get along, she's probably not deliberately trying to undermine you. Sometimes people don't get how they come across until it is pointed out.

(I'm a SAHM to a toddler and a baby and you get WAY more done than I do, I'm in awe of what you accomplish, if that's any consolation.)
post #8 of 15
I would have to ask her why she cares so much that DP helps with laundry. I assume that it is his family, home, and laundry too, right?
post #9 of 15
delete
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyMae09 View Post
She thinks I don't do enough... I do more than enough, in my opinion. We live on the same property, so she kinda knows what I 'accomplish' every day...

In general, she's pretty cool, but sometimes she'll say things like 'why did DP help you with the laundry?' or 'I'll help you get better at XYZ' or 'you need to mutli-task better' or 'you should be using fresh veggies from the garden every night to make dinner' or... on and on.
Her: "Why did DP help you with the laundry?"

You: "Because he wanted to and I really appreciated it, too. Thank you for raising such a wonderfully considerate son!"

Her: "I'll help you get better at [XYZ]."

You: "Oh, thanks, but this is working for us so far. I appreciate your concern!"

Her: "You need to multi-task better."

You: "Naw, this is what works for our family. Everyone has different ways of doing things, don't they?"

It sounds like your relationship with her is good aside from the constant criticism (which would drive me insane), so if the above polite deflections don't work, consider sitting her down and telling her bluntly that her words are hurtful and you'd appreciate it if she kept her unsolicited advice and commentary to herself from now on.

I adore my MIL but she can get critical at times and so I either tune her out, put her off with a smile on my face, or tell her gently that this is what works for our family so far and we're happy with the way things are, so why worry? Boundaries are crucial in every relationship, loving or not so loving. You're doing a wonderful job, mama. Don't let anyone make you doubt yourself.
post #11 of 15
I think you're doing great! I can identify with your challenge, 'tho. My mom is one of those lucky people with an incredible amount of energy (currently works 2 full-time jobs, swims everyday, bikes to work, etc.). I mean, really over-the-top incredible. It's impossible to keep up with her, and any time I compare myself to her I fall far short. She has a tendancy to make 'helpful' comments that sometimes feel very judgemental to me (& often are judgements).

I try to remember that she really always has the best of intentions (sounds like you do this with your MIL already). I remind myself that she doesn't always see how different her energy level is. I remind myself of the beauty in our differences - she gets an amzing amount done everyday, but has a really hard time being still. I may not get as much done, but I value stillness in my life & make sure that there is plenty of breathing room.

Mostly, her comments roll off me (now! It took a while to get to this point) . But when she does say somehting that hurts, I tell her (gently - she's very sensitive), & ask her to clarify her intention.
post #12 of 15
hummmm!!!
Personally, you're an adult, you're a woman, a mother. You don't need the approval of anybody.
If you want to wake up at noon, well!.. Good for you!!.
If you MIL want to compete with somebody, She's free to find somebody else to compete.
You're a different person, different woman,mother, live in different life, different husband, and so on.
My MIL think that I spend to much time in the computer, that her opinion. She's free had her opinion, I have my opinions about what she did and what she's doing. You have your opinions about your MIL, so I don't think she would likes to put her life under the microscopy. Please, enjoy your life, enjoy this precious moments with your kids and husband. Life is to enjoy it, you can try to do better. I'm sure you do, but not because somebody else is better or worse that you.
So let it go...
Take care,
Isa
post #13 of 15
I'm in a very similar situation. I love my MIL. I don't think I could ask for better. But sometimes she acts like I could do this or that better. I know she just wants to help, but really... I think I do a lot in a day, just taking care of my (very mobile) 10 month old, and keeping the house in order.

She once asked if I wanted help cleaning out the shed/gazebo.
I was like "no that's dh's area. He'll do it"
her "But you are home all day!" (she normally doesn't say things like this!)
me "No it's fine. He'll do it. He said he would. I wouldn't have let it get this messy if it were my job"
Her "Seriously. 15 mins. We'll do it right now"
me "No, it's fine"

Yes I'm home all day but dh still has a few chores. Like, getting 2 cats was BOTH of our decision so we BOTH do the litter. (We take turns each day)

Oh and MIL ALWAYS wants to bundle ds up. Even inside. I'm like. It's 20C in here. He doesn't need a big fleecy blanket.

Just stand your ground mama. Don't let her push you around or make you feel bad.
post #14 of 15
My MIL is very kind and polite, but total super-mom. Worked PT, but still dropped kids and picked them up from school, made every meal, kept immaculate house, laundry done all the time, always looked great, and still keeps life like that.

Me, well, just not a details person. I feel very inadequate next to her. Here is what I did, but granted, I maybe have a bit more formal relationship with her than you have in close quarters with yours.

I started by making things complementary about her son (DH). "DH is so awesome, he totally picked up laundry/dishes (whatever) just to take a bit off my plate....you raised a great kid"...or whatever. She cant argue with that.

Then, I tried to look at the things that she DID do well that I wished I could incorporate. 1) She is a great meal planner/list organizer. I aspired to be that way. So I just asked her....hey, I love how organized your food planning is...how do you do that??? Then I let her glow and tell me. I then felt good about popping in things like....yeah, I will never have a pristine house, but at least my meals will be in order!

Maybe a little dorky, and I admit she would never take cheap shots (to my face anyway) about wake up times, etc. (She does do little grooming things with DD in front of me to make a point about the fact that i dont do them, lol). But I did find that it nuetralized things, made her feel good that I took some of her advice, and she chilled out on her judgment about some other things.

Not sure if any of that is helpful, but my 2 cents!
post #15 of 15
Hey DeChRi, I think you are very clever to have found a way to make your MIL feel good. So that's one "detail" that you seemed to have handled well.

My MIL is someone I don't care for very much. Luckily, she lives in another state, so that's a good thing. She is not a particularly kind person, and it hasn't been easy being her daughter-in-law. Mostly, I just disengage with her and go to my happy place. I remind myself that one day if/when I am a MIL, I will know what NOT to do.

It is important to remember that you are in charge of your own family and your own happiness. So while I would not say a MIL's approval or disapproval doesn't matter, in the end, it's your family and your life.
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